13 Missouri counties to receive help

President Donald Trump approved Missouri Gov. Mike Parson's request Monday for a major disaster declaration in 13 counties hit hard by flooding and severe storms earlier this spring.

Marion and Ralls counties were not included. Those counties issued emergency declarations earlier this month when significant Mississippi River flooding was imminent.

Marion County must be included in a state disaster declaration before federal assistance can be received, said John Hark, emergency management director for Marion County and the city of Hannibal.

"I have been to meetings and talked to (state) senators, a state rep, the governor and everybody else. We are trying to get it, but it just hasn't happened yet, that's all," he said.

Counties included in the president's public assistance disaster declaration are Andrew, Atchison, Buchanan, Carroll, Chariton, Holt, Mississippi, New Madrid, Pemiscot, Perry, Platte, Ray, and Ste. Genevieve. They sustained significant damage between March 11 and April 16.

"That was one of the first flood disasters and we weren't a part of that. It's from April 15, 16 forward that pertains to us," Hark said.

Emergency declarations were issued May 1 by Hannibal, Marion County and Ralls County.

The governor said on Monday that the state expects to request the public assistance disaster declaration to be expanded to include additional counties, which gives Hark cause for hope that Northeast Missouri counties might yet be included.

"There's always hope, you know," he said.

During Monday's meeting of the Hannibal Board of Public Works (HBPW) Board, Heath Hall, general manager of the HBPW, said it will probably be June before he has cost totals related to the HBPW's flood-fighting efforts.

Hall was asked if he expected the HBPW to be reimbursed for the flood-related expenses it incurred.

"That's a good question," he said. "Probably not, but the question is still out there. It kind of depends on how much the total cost was."

If the Federal Emergency Management Agency becomes involved the HBPW could be reimbursed for overtime pay, material charges and equipment fees, Hall said.

During the May 16 meeting of the Hannibal Park Board, Andy Dorian, the city's director of central services, was asked about paying for flood expenses.

"The city pays for everything unless there is a (disaster) declaration and it has not been issued yet," he said. "If it (disaster) isn't declared the city is just out (the money). The city has an emergency fund that we would end up paying out of for this."



danny.henley@courierpost.com